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2014: 269,302
2013: 330,818

My First Flight on the Airbus A350 XWB

The Airbus A350 waiting to be boarded - Photo: Owen Zupp

The Airbus A350 (MSN002) waiting to be boarded – Photo: Owen Zupp

A flight test program is a finely-tuned schedule, down to the most detailed demonstration, with every minute of flight time accounted for. The deadlines of certification and delivery loom ever-closer as the engineers and pilots continue to put the aircraft through its paces. Still, recently, Airbus was able to somehow wedge a 60-minute flight into their A350 XWB timeline to showcase their newest family member to a media contingent visiting Toulouse for their ‘Airbus Innovations 2014′. I was fortunate to be one of those that flew aboard that flight.

The A350 wingtip with special escort - Photo: Owen Zupp

The A350 wingtip with special escort – Photo: Owen Zupp

The fact that Airbus was prepared to conduct the flight reflects two rather key points. Firstly, that their flight test program is on track and secondly, that they are confident enough in their product to take a load of media scribes aloft. Furthermore, Airbus created specific social media channels for the journalists to share the flight with the world. Consequently, there was a buzz of texting and tweeting as 200 passengers cleared a security channel and filed down the aero-bridge.

The aircraft’s cabin was still in flight test mode, so interspersed amongst the passenger seats were stations of data-gathering equipment, computer screens, and cables taped to the floor. Even so, as one walked through business class and into the economy cabin, there was still that new airplane smell. The interior boasted all of the mod-cons of inflight entertainment systems and even the fasten belt sign was a scrolling digital display. As we all settled in, there was no mistaking that this was a new generation of passenger jet and we were very privileged to take flight.

Continue reading My First Flight on the Airbus A350 XWB

Photos: Interior Tour of the Airbus A350 XWB

The A350 XWB cabin design – with its smooth curves, flowing lines, innovative lighting and wide windows – helps create a pleasant and soothing atmosphere for business class travellers - Photo: Airbus

The A350 XWB cabin design – with its smooth curves, flowing lines, innovative lighting, and wide windows – helps create a pleasant and soothing atmosphere for business class travellers – Photo: Airbus

Recently in Germany, Airbus showed off a potential interior for their new Airbus A350 XWB. They shared the second test aircraft, MSN002 with a partial test interior and mock cabin. Even though it looks impressive, at the end of the day, airline customers will be the ones deciding what finishes will go into the aircraft.

Although Airbus decided to show off a 3-3-3 layout in economy, the aircraft could end up seeing a ten-abreast configuration in the future.

Although the interior of MSN002 gives us a preview, Airbus is planning to fit MSN005 with a full interior which might show more of the robust ideas, like a impressive entry way.

Continue reading to see photos of the interior and descriptions from Airbus…

Continue reading Photos: Interior Tour of the Airbus A350 XWB

Attending the Singapore Airshow 2014 – Asia’s Premiere Aviation Event

The Korean Air Force Black Eagles Aerobatic display team open the show with a magnificent fly past

Korean Air Force Black Eagles aerobatic display team opening the show with a magnificent fly-by                                                        Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

This was my first visit to the Singapore Airshow which is Asia’s largest bi-annual aviation event and has been running since 2008. My expectations of the show were pretty high given that Singapore is a world-wide leader within the aviation industry.

The Static display was just as impressive as the flying display - Photo: Jacob Pfleger

The static display was just as impressive as the flying display – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The event ran for six days, with the first four being reserved for trade visitors.

The flying display was limited to one hour during each day of the trade show. This is because when the display takes place, all arrivals and departures at Singapore Changi airport must be suspended due to the proximity of the display site to the approach/departure tracks of the airport.This restriction also meant that the display had to take place outside of peak hours, so it happened during the middle of the day. As such, the lighting conditions proved very challenging for photography and general viewing of some aerobatic displays.

At present, there is a strong possibility that the 2016 show’s display will be cut even further, to just 30 minutes, but with more than one display window during the day.

Continue reading Attending the Singapore Airshow 2014 – Asia’s Premiere Aviation Event

PHOTOS: Airbus Shows off Special “Carbon” Livery on Third A350

Click Image for Larger Verion. Photo and information from Airbus: On Thursday 2nd January 2014 Airbus rolled-out its third A350 XWB flight-test aircraft, MSN2, from the paint shop in Toulouse, marking yet another successful milestone on the path to entry-into-service in Q4 2014. As well as featuring a distinctive “Carbon” signature livery to reflect its primary construction from advanced materials, this aircraft is also the first of two A350 flight test aircraft to be equipped with a full passenger cabin interior. MSN2 will join the A350 XWB flight test fleet in the coming weeks and will be the first A350 to transport passengers when it undertakes the Early Long Flights (ELF) later in the year. Composite materials in Airbus aircraft have seen a step-by-step introduction that started with the A310 which was first rolled-out in February 1982. Benefiting from over 30 years of composite material experience, 53% of the A350 XWB’s airframe is made-up of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) including Airbus’ first carbon-fibre fuselage.

Airbus’ third A350 XWB (MSN2) shows off a special livery. Photo: Airbus

Today Airbus unveiled a special livery on their third A350 XWB (MSN2). The “carbon” signature livery celebrates the aircraft’s usage from advance materials, like (wait for it) carbon.

Not only does this aircraft has a slick outside, it will also be the first test A350 to be equipped with a full passenger interior. It will still be a few weeks before MSN2 joins the A350 test fleet (currently just MSN1). The aircraft will undertake Early Long Flights (ELF) later this year.

This livery looks as good coming as going. Photo: Airbus

This livery looks as good coming as going. Photo: Airbus

ADDITIONAL AIRBUS A350 XWB GOODIES

Photos & Video: First Airbus A350 XWB Starts Its Engines

A350 XWB (MSN1) First Engine Run, Toulouse, France. Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines have run for the first time on the A350 XWB (MSN1) following the start-up of the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), as part of the preparations for the aircraft’s maiden flight. Photo by Airbus.

A350 XWB (MSN1) First Engine Run, Toulouse, France. Photo by Airbus.

On Sunday, The first Airbus A350-900 (MSN1) successfully completed starting up its engines, making it one step close to flight. Although Airbus is not stating when the A350 will have its first flight, many are hoping it will be in time for the Paris Air Show, which will run from June 17-23.

MORE: Photos + Video: First Airbus A350 Comes Out of Paint

When the first flight occurs there will be six crew members on-board: two flight test pilots, one test flight engineer and three flight test engineers. The two test pilots will be Peter Chandler, an Experimental Flight Test Pilot with Airbus since 2000 and Chief Test Pilot since 2011 and Guy Magrin, an Experimental Flight Test Pilot with Airbus since 2003 and Project Pilot for the A350 XWB.

Airbus plans to deliver the first A350-900 XWB in the second half of 2014 to its launch customer: Qatar Airways.

Continue reading Photos & Video: First Airbus A350 XWB Starts Its Engines